HiRISE Views a Mars Impact Crater Surrounded by Water Ice
Boulder-size blocks of water ice can be seen around the rim of this giant meteoroid impact crater on Mars, as viewed by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE camera) aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The crater was formed on Dec. 24, 2021, when a meteoroid struck the ground in a region of Mars called Amazonis Planitia.
The impact churned up a layer of water ice buried under the ground here – the closest to the Martian equator buried water ice has ever been found. NASA scientists are interested in finding deposits of water ice as close to the Martian equator as possible, where it's warmer and safer to land. This ice would be a critical resource for astronauts as drinking water, for agriculture, and for rocket propellant.
Figure A is an annotated version of the image indicating the crater is about 490 feet (150 meters) across.
The University of Arizona, in Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colorado. NASAÃ¢â¬â¢s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASAÃ¢â¬â¢s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.